First Encounter

First Encounter Beach

“First Encounter”, by Linda Beach, pastel, 12×18

During our time of social distancing and stay at home order I painted “First Encounter”. It was based on a reference photo of First Encounter Beach on Cape Cod. The light from the clouds created streaks of light across the exposed beach at low tide. The beach is believed to be the area of the first encounter of the Pilgrims and the Wompanoag Indians of Southeastern Massachusetts.

I began the painting by establishing the lines of perspective and blocking in the sky above the horizon line from the lightest values of blue.

Early stage of painting

Initial stage of painting

Painting notes:
I used a variety of pastel brands including Great American, Unison, Terry Ludwig, Sennelier, Rembrandt, and NuPastels as shown in the photo. The surface was UArt #400 sanded pastel paper.

selected pastels

Pastel palette

 

The Shape of Water

What beautiful September weather it was for the “Celebrate Our Waters” festival in Orleans, MA. Artists were invited to a day of plain air painting to showcase the natural resources and protect the waters of this area of Cape Cod. The Addison Gallery hosted an artists’ reception from 4 to 6 to display the fresh works created during the event.

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Plein Air at Rock Harbor, Orleans, MA

I set up my French easel near the marshes on the beach of Rock Harbor. The tide was low and the intersection of the shoreline and marsh grasses caught my attention. It was a challenge to capture the ever-changing scene before me as the water receded from the shore. But, what a delightful day it was with perfect temperature, a slight sea breeze, and the opportunity to capture some of the beauty of Cape Cod.

 

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A part of Celebrating Our Waters exhibit at Addison Gallery, Orleans, MA

After a day outside, it was relaxing to enjoy the company of artists, patrons, and environmentalists with a glass in hand and enjoy the ambiance of music and art on the final salute to summer on the Cape.

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Artist Reception at Addison Gallery

 

Wild Thing

“Wild Thing, you make my heart sing.”

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“Helene’s Cottage Garden”, pastel, 11×14

I am attracted to the softness and vibrancy of a cottage garden where the flowers seem to compete for attention. Each flower jostles to be seen and noticed. Again this summer I had the pleasure of being a plein air artist on the Orleans Garden Tour on Cape Cod. Rather than painting one of the well – tended and more formal garden beds, I chose to paint the cottage garden of homeowner Helene.

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Easel in garden with pastels

Like the garden that I was painting, I discarded some of the traditional approaches of establishing a value pattern of the scene. Rather I responded to the freshness of the scene and focused my painting on the softness and mood of the wildflower garden.

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There is an urgency with painting on site during a one day garden tour ends with the piece being framed, and exhibited at the sponsoring art gallery. Why do I do this? It seems to force me to work quickly. It also brings together lovers of gardens and art in a unique setting. And at the end of the day, my pastel, “Helen’s Cottage Garden” went to a new home to be enjoyed in all seasons when the summer garden was just a memory.

Conception to Collection

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Painting on Location at Truro Vineyards

Plein Air painting creates a connection between the artist and the environment where the artist is painting. There is an immediate relationship and a sense of place to the natural environment that cannot always be duplicated from a studio painting from a photo. This painting of Truro Vineyards on Cape Cod in Truro, MA. was selected by a collector. It is such a compliment for an artist to have a piece of work chosen for a home.

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“Truro Vineyard”, pastel, 11×14

There is an intangible quality of interaction between the artist and a scene which goes beyond reporting of the visual elements and a painting.  I would like to think that the collector senses that expression when they choose to place a painting in their environment.

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On location at Fort Hill, Cape Cod National Seashore

What a perfect day for painting it was at Fort Hill in Eastham, MA in the Cape Cod National Seashore! This photo shows the beginning of the painting that was inspired by the patterns of the water and wetlands at the shore. I was interested in capturing the clouds in the sky and the colorful wildflowers as beach peas in the foreground.

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“Summer Song”, pastel 12×16

Why do collectors choose certain paintings to hang on their walls?  Perhaps that the image reminds them of a memory.  When the weather is cloudy and not the best day for exploring the area, maybe the painting transports them to a special place and time.  It is an intangible quality, but for the selection, I am grateful. I hope to have painted something that brings joy.

Seaside Daisies

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My location on Cape Cod

How perfect on a summer day to paint daisies growing beside the sea! Before the rush of summer at the beach, I spent a few quiet hours on the bayside of Cape Cod capturing this scene.

Daisies have long been one of my favorite flowers.  There is something about their simplicity that speaks to me. In the language of flowers daisies symbolize innocence and purity.  In Norse mythology the daisy is Freya’s sacred flower. She is the goddess of love, beauty, and fertility. The daisy represents motherhood or new beginnings. It is appropriate that at the beginning of summer, I painted “Seaside Daisies”.

Seaside Daisies pastel

“Seaside Daisies”, pastel, 11×15

Daisies are a challenge to paint in such a way that they do not resemble the many flowers in crayon of our childhood. I tried to capture the clumps of flowers before me and the general sense of the scene. I will remember this peaceful and beautiful location as I stood at the edge of the changing sea. Before long, I heard the waves as the tide shifted from low to high and the daisies nodded in the breeze.

Technical Notes: Sennelier LaCarte pastel paper, Pastels by Terry Ludwig, Sennelier, Unison, Girault, and Conte pencils.

A Colorful Summer

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Work in Progress on Easel and View of Highland Lighthouse

Summer on Cape Cod is always colorful. From the selections of ice cream, the beach umbrellas, the kayaks on top of the cars going over the bridges, and the towels on the beaches there is color. But, this year Cape Cod Life Magazine wrote, “It’s going to be a colorful summer.” Plein Air Painters would paint, demonstate, and exhibit their interpretations inspired by Edward Hopper in “After Hopper” events hosted by Addison Art Gallery.

Plein air painters were at Highland Lighthouse which is located in Truro in the Cape Cod National Seashore. I was one of the artists who demonstrated my painting techniques in pastel near the lighthouse and the Truro History Museum.

In describing Hopper’s work Dicum of the New York Times wrote, “Isolated buildings in broad vistas are meditations on form and color that steer toward the abstract while remaining figurative.” Keeping this in mind, I set up my easel, so that the lighthouse was viewed at a distance. It was also convenient for transporting my set-up.

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Assorted Pastels

There were many specific questions about materials and types of pastels and paper supports. I welcomed the discussion and enjoyed sharing my passion for pastel.

Technical notes: Assorted pastels – Terri Ludwig, Sennelier, Unison, Rembrandt, and Conte Pastel Pencils on Sennelier La Carte pastel card.

Lace, Lighthouse, & Links

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Easel at Cape Cod Nat’l Seashore Highland Links, Truro, MA

Wildflowers in the windswept meadow in the rough of the links course by the Highland Light in Truro caught my eye. The Highland Links dates to 1892. Several artists were painting Cape Cod’s oldest lighthouse which dates to 1857 for the Light on Truro painting event. I chose to focus my attention on the natural beauty of the Cape Cod National Seashore, rather than the architecture of the lighthouse. A sliver of the blue ocean beyond the trees balanced the blue of wild chickory and Queen Anne’s Lace in the foreground. This scene beside the Highland Historical Museum is a reminder of a bygone era when the building was a turn of the century resort hotel on the Outer Cape.

I had a clear vision of the image that I wanted to capture in my painting. Soon I felt I had enough information to sign and frame the piece for an exhibit that afternoon at the Truro Library by the Addison Art Gallery called “Light On Truro”. The exhibit celebrates the Centennial of the National Parks and “Found Our Park!” which features art inspired by the Cape Cod National Seashore. “Queen Anne’s View” is available through the Addison Art Gallery.

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Queen Anne’s View, pastel, 12×16

Technical Notes: Sennelier LaCarte pastel card with a variety of pastels by Rembrandt, Unison, Terry Ludwig, Girault, Sennelier, and Conte pastel pencil.

Japanese Iris Garden

Iris Garden Entry, pastel, 11 x 16

 

The Japanese Iris at the entryway of the Cape Cod Art Association caught my eye on a June afternoon for plein air painting. I loved the deep blues and purples against the many greens. The garden scene was fairly complex with bouganvillea, lilac, and azalea combined with the light and shadow patterns of the weathered shingled wall. There were areas of bright sunlight and deep shadow by the entrance. I am focusing on painting stronger light and shadow and this was a good opportunity for this. I omitted the sculptures on the right and cropped the trellis at the top for emphasis and composition.

Painting notes: Uart #400 Pastel Paper; Pastels – NuPastels, Rembrandt, Terry Ludwig, Unison, and Conte and Carbotello Pastel Pencils. Underpainting of 91% Isopropyl Alcohol.  (See underpainting below:)

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Photo of Iris Garden Entry

By the Sea

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Easel at Mayo Beach for After Hopper in Wellfleet, MA

The Paint Out for  Addison Art Gallery’s “After Hopper” in Wellfleet, MA was last Saturday. The event celebrates the artist Edward Hopper and continues the tradition of plein air painting iconic images of Cape Cod. I chose Mayo Beach and the oil house behind what was once the Mayo’s Beach Lighthouse on Kendrick Avenue. The pink and white beach roses which surround the simple painted brick outbuilding were in full bloom. Artists had the morning to paint and then deliver the finished work to the Wellfleet Public Library for an afternoon reception. This is often called a Quick Draw at other plein air paint outs.

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Thumbnail sketch for “By the Sea”

I planned my composition with a quick thumbnail sketch. With only a few hours to work from concept to completion, I thought the simple building that originally held the oil for the lighthouse would make for good painting that could feature the simple beauty of the Cape scene. The race against the clock is helpful to push me to capture the essence of the view and not get caught up in overworking a painting. I used the broken split rail fence that was surrounded by the roses as a directional element to draw the viewer into the focal point.

I finished the pastel, framed it, and delivered it to the Wellfleet library to be hung for the reception to be held from 4 to 6 pm.  Soon I was rewarded for my morning’s work, when a new collector chose “By the Sea” for a gift for his wife. I have memories of a beautiful day by the sea.

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“By the Sea”, pastel, 11×14, private collection

Waiting to Sail

“Waiting to Sail”, 12×18, pastel

 
“Waiting to Sail” is one of my recent pastels that just returned from the frame shop. It is a studio painting that I did this spring from a reference photo that was taken on Cape Cod a few summers ago. The scene was simplified since I thought there were more boats than were needed. I generally paint from top to bottom and left to right. However, this time I worked in more of a circular pattern. For some reason, the painting called for me to change my usual procedure. Here are a couple of process images:

Early Stage of “Waiting to Sail”


Mid Stage of “Waiting to Sail”

Technical notes: Painted on Uart #400 sanded paper mounted on archival board. The underpainting was done in a peach Rembrandt pastel which was then brushed down with water to give it some warmth. A variety of pastel brands was used in addition to Nu Pastel, Rembrandt, Unison, Terry Ludwig, Sennelier, and Conte pastel pencils. I have eliminated elements in a marine painting before. It presents some challenges when depicting the reflections. I think the vertical masts and post on the dock help the composition which also has a few horizontal elements. Also, the water has many bright reflections which challenge the common idea that water is always blue.